Pavement - Conditions & performance

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Pavement performance measures

Source: WSDOT Pavement Office.

Notes: Fair or better percentages were slightly affected in 2020 by COVID-19 impacts on data collection. When pavement condition is weighted by vehicle miles traveled (VMT), roadways with more traffic are weighted more heavily than less traveled roads. Weighting pavement condition by VMT better accounts for the higher costs to maintain and preserve roads with more traffic. Measures for pavement in fair or better condition, Asset Sustainability Ratio and Remaining Service life are also weighted by vehicle miles traveled to better capture the typical road user's experience.

Performance analysis

2021

WSDOT pavement conditions worsen in 2021, preservation funding issues continue

The condition of WSDOT-managed pavement lane miles in fair or better condition worsened from 93.0% in 2020 to 92.0% in 2021. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, chip seal roadways were not included in 2020 data, but they were included in the 2021 analysis.

Weighted by the amount of traffic carried, 92.5% of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 2021 were driven on pavement in fair or better condition, down 1.0 percentage point from 93.5% in 2020.

When VMT is considered in pavement condition measures, roadways with higher traffic volumes and that must perform to higher standards are given additional weight in calculations than less-traveled roads. As a result, the pavement condition is higher when measured via vehicle miles traveled; 92.5% for VMT compared to 92.0% for lane miles. WSDOT ensures interstate pavement preservation takes priority over other roadways due to Federal Highway Administration Transportation Performance Management requirements. The emphasis on these more-traveled strategic freight corridors (also known as T-1 and T-2 corridors) is one reason the state did not experience a larger decrease in the percentage of VMT-weighted pavement in fair or better condition between 2020 and 2021.

Lowest cost pavement rehabilitation should occur at fair condition

WSDOT prefers to begin the rehabilitation process to protect the pavement structure and manage pavement at the lowest life-cycle cost when it is in fair condition. The condition of WSDOT-managed roadways is evaluated annually using three indicators:

  • Surface cracking (an indicator of structural deterioration);
  • Rutting (which is monitored for safety and structural reasons); and
  • Roughness (measured using the International Roughness Index.

WSDOT uses these criteria to classify pavement conditions into four categories: good/very good, fair, poor and very poor.

The good, fair, poor indicators are useful for short-term evaluations of current conditions but do not provide information about past performance or forecasted future performance. Long-term performance indicators provide a more in-depth assessment of pavement infrastructure, as they account for the impact funding has on asset sustainability, pavement service life and preservation backlog.

2020

WSDOT pavement conditions improve slightly in 2020, preservation funding issues continue

The condition of WSDOT-managed pavement lane miles in fair or better condition improved slightly from 92.9% in 2019 (not including chip seal roadways) to 93.0% in 2020. Weighted by the amount of traffic carried, 93.5% of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 2020 were driven on pavement in fair or better condition, down 0.6 percentage points from 94.1% in 2019.

When VMT is considered in pavement condition measures, roadways with higher traffic volumes are given additional weight in calculations than less-traveled roads. As a result, the pavement condition is higher when measured via vehicle miles traveled; 93.5% for VMT compared to 93.0% for lane miles.

Lowest cost pavement rehabilitation should occur at fair condition

WSDOT prefers to begin the rehabilitation process to protect the pavement structure and manage the pavement at the lowest life-cycle cost when pavement is in fair condition. The condition of WSDOT-managed roadways is evaluated annually using three indicators:

  • Surface cracking (an indicator of structural deterioration);
  • Rutting (which is monitored for safety and structural reasons); and
  • Roughness (measured using the International Roughness Index, or IRI).

WSDOT uses these criteria to classify pavement conditions into five categories: very good, good, fair, poor and very poor. The good, fair, poor indicators are useful for short-term evaluations of current conditions but do not provide information about past performance or forecasted future performance. Long-term performance indicators provide a more in-depth assessment of pavement infrastructure, as they account for the impact funding has on asset sustainability, pavement service life and preservation backlog.

2019

Pavement conditions improve between 2018 and 2019

In 2019, 93.2% of all WSDOT-managed pavement lane miles were in fair or better condition, up from 91.4%in 2018. Several multi-year concrete paving projects became substantially complete in 2019, which contributed to the improvement, as did the inclusion of data on the condition of chip seal pavement for the first time in several years. Annual condition data on chip seal pavement was either not collected or not analyzed from 2010 through 2018 due to continuous budget cuts.

The agency evaluates the condition of asphalt and concrete pavement on state-owned roadways annually using three indicators: surface cracking (an indicator of structural deterioration); rutting (which is monitored for safety and structural reasons); and smoothness (measured using the International Roughness Index). These criteria are used to classify pavement conditions into four categories: good/very good, fair, poor and very poor.

2018

Pavement conditions decline for fourth consecutive year

In 2018, 91.4% of WSDOT-managed pavement lane miles were in fair or better condition, down from 91.8% in 2017. Although the agency continued to meet its goal of having at least 90% of pavement lane miles in fair or better condition, 2018 was the fourth year in a row of declining conditions.

The agency evaluates the condition of asphalt and concrete pavement on state-owned roadways annually using three indicators: surface cracking (an indicator of structural deterioration); rutting (which is monitored for safety and structural reasons); and smoothness (measured using the International Roughness Index). These criteria are used to classify pavement conditions into four categories: good/very good, fair, poor and very poor.

Lowest cost pavement rehabilitation should occur at fair condition

WSDOT prefers to begin the rehabilitation process to protect the pavement structure and manage the pavement at the lowest life-cycle cost when pavement is in fair condition. The condition of WSDOT-managed roadways is evaluated annually using three indicators:

  • Surface cracking (an indicator of structural deterioration);
  • Rutting (which is monitored for safety and structural reasons); and
  • Roughness (measured using the International Roughness Index, or IRI).

WSDOT uses these criteria to classify pavement conditions into five categories: very good, good, fair, poor and very poor. The good, fair, poor indicators are useful for short-term evaluations of current conditions but do not provide information about past performance or forecasted future performance. Long-term performance indicators provide a more in-depth assessment of pavement infrastructure, as they account for the impact funding has on asset sustainability, pavement service life and preservation backlog

2017

Pavement conditions decline slightly in 2017

In 2017, 91.8% of WSDOT-managed pavement lane miles were in fair or better condition, declining slightly from the 92.2% reported in 2016. Despite this drop, the agency met its goal of having at least 90% of pavement lane miles in fair or better condition.

WSDOT determined that 91.5% of vehicle miles traveled in 2017 were on pavement in fair or better condition, a decrease from 91.7% in 2016. Weighting pavement performance measures by vehicle miles traveled allows WSDOT to better capture the experience of the typical motorist.

The agency evaluates the condition of asphalt and concrete pavement on state-managed roadways annually using three indicators:

  • Surface cracking (an indicator of structural deterioration);
  • Rutting (which is monitored for safety and structural reasons); and,
  • Smoothness (measured using the International Roughness Index).

WSDOT uses these criteria to classify pavement conditions into five categories: very good, good, fair, poor and very poor. The good, fair, poor indicators are useful for short-term evaluations of current conditions but do not provide information about past performance or forecasted future performance. Long-term performance indicators provide a more in-depth assessment of pavement infrastructure, as they account for the impact funding has on asset sustainability, pavement service life and preservation backlog

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